This can be confirmed. At about 11 PM last night, I mumbled to my girlfriend: “here comes a throwing error.” Part intuition, part payback and part hope, I just had a feeling the Sox were about to catch a break. Lo and behold, ten seconds later, Darnell McDonald layed down a nice bunt and Ranger Reliever Alexi Ogando uncorked an ill-advised throw to second, it ricocheted into leftfield, and the Sox were in business to secure an extra innings victory.
It only seemed fair. After handing Texas seven runs on two bad throws Friday night, the Sox were due to get one back. So let’s call it even now and move on.
It was only one game but last night was an awfully nice win for the Red Sox. Coming off two straight losses and facing Cliff Lee, last night seemed relatively hopeless. And I was already contemplating a Sunday afternoon game where Jon Lester would be trying to save the weekend and pre-empt Buster Olney from smirking tomorrow that the Sox ship was sinking.
But rather than fold, the Sox hung in last night. John Lackey pitched very well and only got nicked twice on two jam shots. The offense was dormant but they had a pretty good excuse as that was about as good as Lee gets and that is saying a lot. The pen pitched admirably. Scutaro had nice at bats in the ninth and eleventh. And Youkilis delivered in a huge spot, sending the game into extras and then finishing it off with a relatively anti-climatic SF a half-hour later. All told, it was a pretty gutsy effort by the Sox and it staves off a crisis …. at least for another day or so.
* Twice this season, John Lackey has pitched on “birthday” nights for me: My girlfriend’s back in May against Matt Garza and my 41st last night against Cliff Lee. In both instances, I felt little need to rush through dinner as nobody – including myself – has to rush home to watch the final five innings of a 6-1 game. Surprisingly, Lackey has come through nicely on both occasions and you can’t fault him for leaving last night’s game on the wrong end of a 2-1 score. I killed him last week and BTF downgraded him from outperform to neutral but perhaps last night is a good sign of things to come. God knows, the Sox need him to come up big if they are going to stay alive over the next two weeks.
* I have stopped thinking in terms of “another day off the calendar.” As much as I would like this team to be made whole, it is not going to happen anytime soon.
* Something tells me that Cliff Lee already has a contract waiting for him in New York that says six years and $138M. The Yanks simply won’t be able to resist and they will defend the largess by saying Pettite will be retiring in two years and they need a replacement. So it will be Lee for Vazquez and the Yanks will have the best lefty in the game and another one in Sabathia who is probably fourth or fifth.
* Francona mentioned yesterday that the Sox would be carrying an extra catcher so that they could pinch hit for Kevin Cash earlier in the game. Well, yesterday, in the fifth, with a runner on second against Cliff Lee, there was Kevin Cash at the plate, striking out. Terry, how many guys are going to get to second off Lee? Don’t you think you should take your shot when you have a chance? Wasn’t this the exact rationale for carrying a third catcher?
* This will sicken me. The reports from Josh Beckett’s night in Syracuse were hardly glowing and it seems that he didn’t have very good command of his curve. As such, I don’t have a very good feeling that he will be making his next start for Boston and that means one thing: Tim Wakefield will be making TWO more starts, one on Tuesday and then another next Sunday. Francona just can’t say NO to this guy and this appears like the perfect excuse that can be used to get Wakefield another start.
* This will also sicken me although there is no stopping it at this point. Jeremy Hermida looks ready to return to the team by next weekend and that means the end for either Daniel Nava or Darnell McDonald. I suspect Nava will be the one to go as McDonald doesn’t have any options and would have to be released. Given his contributions this season, I don’t see Francona doing that short of gunpoint. So Nava will be sent down until rosters can expand or Hermida is dealt. I guess I can accept that for six weeks but what I’d like to see is Hermida traded or jettisoned in the off-season so Nava could be the fourth outfielder next season. I think he has earned that right.
* FARM REPORT: There is a lot of good stuff happening down on the farm right now but the most important one to note is the tear that Lars Anderson is on. He ripped a double and triple last night, which is the second time in as many nights that has happened. Simply put, he is splitting the cover off the ball right now, hitting .347 and slugging.551 in July. He still can’t hit left-handed pitching and who knows what goes on in this guy’s head from day to day, but the kid with the perfect swing may have finally put it all together. I say “finally” but it should be noted that Anderson is just TWENTY-TWO. If Anderson has a big August, it will be interesting to see how he figures into the Sox off-season. I suspect the front office would be leery of clearing a space for Lars ahead of next season and therefore he will start next season at Pawtucket, but you never know. And at the very least, Anderson’s surge may greatly increase his trade value. Just thinking out loud here ….. but Anderson and Matsusaka to LA for Andre Ethier? (Assuming Anderson’s August looks more like July than June.)